NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued an unprecedented mandatory evacuation order on Friday for parts of the city as Hurricane Irene barrels down on the Big Apple.

“The sun is shining, but don’t be misled, there is a very dangerous storm headed in our direction,” Bloomberg said. “There is no question that we are going to get hit with some wind and high water that is very dangerous. It is, in some sense, the calm before the storm.”

Photos: The 11 Worst Hurricanes, 2000-2011 | Hurricane Irene, So Far


Bloomberg also announced a mandatory evacuation of all residents in the coastal areas dubbed “Zone A” and also extended the mandatory evacuation zone to include all of the Rockaways. Zone A includes Battery Park City and parts of Lower Manhattan, the Rockaways and Coney Island.

“It’s done for people’s safety and I think the vast majority of people will recognize just how serious this is and follow the order and evacuate,” Bloomberg said.

Nearly 270,000 New Yorkers live in the low-lying areas most susceptible to flooding and wind damage. The mayor decided to get them out of their homes before buses, subways and commuter trains shut down at noon Saturday. Bridges may close as well, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, if sustained winds clock in at 60 mph or greater.

Evacuation Zone A (credit: CBS 2)

“If you live in Zone A, you have to move,” Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg said the city is calling for everyone in the affected areas out by 5 p.m. Saturday. To see if your home is in part of the evacuation zone, click here.

“We have never done a mandatory evacuation. Wouldn’t be doing this now if we didn’t think the storm had the potential to be very serious,” he said. “Some people will say you overreact, some people if there’s a tragedy will say you didn’t have enough protection, didn’t take enough time. You try to find something that’s balanced.”

“We will have the police going down the streets. They have loud speakers in their cars. When they see somebody out in the street, they will try to stop and say ‘hey, come on, your life is in danger.'”

It will take at least eight hours to shut all the subways and buses down. For more details about the mass transit shutdown and what it means, click here.

“I don’t think that there’s any question that after the storm the situation is going to be very difficult,” Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman Jay Walder said.

Battery Park City resident Susan Bridges lived through one disaster and said she doesn’t want to go through another.

“I was here during 9/11 and the aftermath of that was a little bit crazy,” she said while packing up her car to head upstate to stay with friends. “If things are very bad, this place will be completely and totally unlivable and people will be dead.”

Bruce Katz and his fiance decided to drive away Friday night, and told CBS 2’s Mark Morgan that their departure brought back memories of 9/11.

“We’ve done this before. Ten years ago we had to pack up and leave and it’s somewhat angst-provoking that we’re doing it again ten tears later,” Katz said.

For Chloe Lambros of Battery Park City, the impending storm evoked safety concerns.

“I’m a little nervous with windows being busted and things like that, but to an extent, I have to see how it turns out. I’m playing it by ear,” she said.

WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell In Lower Manhattan

More: Track Irene’s Path | Hurricane Resources | Evac Zone Finder | Prepare For The Storm

“Stay indoors,” Bloomberg urged. “It’s just very dangerous when the wind gets this high.

“If you can possibly do it, stay inside on Sunday. It would be great if we can wake up on Monday and say there were no tragedies.”

1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports: Mayor Orders Evacuation

Bloomberg said he will be in the city this weekend.

If winds top 46 mph, Staten Island ferry service may be shut down. Also shut down: Mets games Saturday and Sunday. The Jets-Giants preseason game at MetLife Stadium, originally scheduled Saturday at 8 p.m. but then pushed back to 2 p.m., was postponed until Monday mostly because fans would not have had MTA trains to rely upon when trying to get home.

The concern about Irene is so great among New Yorkers that, the city’s website, crashed briefly. The site houses the city’s evacuation zone finder and its hurricane guide.

Bloomberg said that even if the site goes down, updates and information can be received via Twitter by following @nycmayorsoffice and @notifynyc.

The city is also eliminating alternate side of the street parking rules Saturday, Sunday and Monday, suspending parking meter payments, and suspending 300 street fair permits.

All this comes as the city continues to gear up for the meanest storm it has seen since 1985. That’s when Hurricane Gloria blew into town, a Category 2 storm. Hurricane Irene seems to be weakening a bit, but it is still Category 2, and could still easily gather strength before it hits town Sunday.

The eye of Irene is expected to pass over Suffolk County, Long Island. New York City is still expected to get significantly walloped.


Five hospitals declared by the city to be at risk because of Hurricane Irene have been evacuating patients to facilities on higher ground. These include Coney Island Hospital, NYU Medical Center, the V. A. Medical Center in Manhattan, and Staten Island University Hospital, both North and South.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond At Coney Island Hospital

“It’s kind of quiet, eerie, just employees walking around. Patients are calling, asking to come into clinics. I’m like, ‘We’re closed!,” Jennifer Ernie, who works in the accounting department, said.

Patient Lovette Lewis was sent home with seizure medication and her doctor’s cell phone number.

“It’s a little scary. It’s a little scary, you know. Cause I do live in the coney island area and it’s a lot you know. It’s scary,” she said.

Eight nursing homes and nine other facilities were also part of the evacuation order, including the Shore View Nursing Home in Coney Island.

Nursing Home resident Theresa Preziotti admits the whole experience has her a bit nervous.

“Yes, I am. Because I have a lot of friends here. I want to come back here. I want the building to be here when I get back,” she told CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman.

1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports: Winding Down Operations At Coney Island Hospital

Bloomberg ordered some of those hospitals, nursing homes and senior centers to be evacuated by 8 p.m. Friday.


The city is a jumble of scaffolding and construction sites, but experts say as long as it’s correctly installed, scaffolding and sidewalk sheds should survive the storm.

Urban planner and architect Lance Jay Brown said the scaffolding that adorns New York City sidewalks should be quite secure, if it has been built up to code specifications. Air-conditioners should also hold in place.

“These tend to get tied to the buildings they are servicing.  Very positively tied, so they don’t move inward, and in well-connected, well-engineered ones, tied so they don’t pull away,” Lance Jay Brown, ACSA Professor of Architecture, told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.

Construction sites around the city are preparing for the intense wind and rain. New York City Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri has inspectors checking construction sites throughout the city.

That’s good news for Abe Shrem, as his Landmark Gallery, with expensive items behind the glass window,  is surrounded by construction sites. “Hopefully we won’t have anything hitting our windows” he said.

Asked how worried he is, Shrem answered “50-50.”

The World Trade Center construction site in lower Manhattan is among those making preparations for Irene. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said it is securing all cranes and construction gear at the site.

“With the hurricane and the winds, you don’t want to take any chances,” one construction worker said.

Another concern they are working on is debris and small objects at buildings on 1 World Trade Center.

The concern over debris and loose material being blown about doesn’t end there.

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb In Another One Of NYC’s Flood-Prone Areas

The Ridgewood Savings Bank branch is boarded up in Breezy Point - Queens, NY - Aug 26, 2011 (credit: Marla Diamond / WCBS 880)

The Ridgewood Savings Bank branch is boarded up in Breezy Point - Queens, NY - Aug 26, 2011 (credit: Marla Diamond / WCBS 880)

Windows above the 10th floor are at greatest risk of shattering. Terrace furniture and other loose things on rooftops could be dangerous.

“I really am nervous. I am getting scared and hopefully everyone will do the right thing to prepare for this,” said Angie Giunta of Carroll Gardens.

Property owners should make sure garbage cans, planters, and anything the wind can pick up and turn into a missile should be secured.

“It becomes yeah, I would say a missile. It can be target at anything, anyone walking by, or cars,” Giunta said.

“Stay away from windows,” Bloomberg urged, adding that there’s always a chance they can be blown in or smashed by debris flying around.


For those with nowhere to go, the city has shelters across Manhattan, located at:

  • Seward Park High School at 350 Grand Street
  • Baruch College, East 23rd & Lexington
  • High School of Graphic Communication Arts, 49th between 9th & 10th
  • John Jay College, 59th & 10th
  • Hunter College, Park Avenue & 68th Street
  • Brandeis High School, 84th between Amsterdam and Columbus
  • IS 118, 105th Street & Manhattan Avenue
  • PS 171, 103rd between Fifth & Madison
  • IS 88, Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. & Frederick Douglass Blvd.
  • Bread and Roses High School, Edgecombe Avenue & 136th Street
  • City College, Amsterdam Ave. & 138th Street
  • IS 90, Jumel Place and 168th Street
  • George Washington High School, 193rd Street between Amsterdam and Audobon Avenues

Click For Map Of All Available Shelters

Volunteers at the city’s shelters were putting finishing touches Friday night on the accommodations.

“There’s going to be people that are afraid. There’s going to be people that are upset. We’ll be dealing with that,” volunteer Harriet Melnick told CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey.

Click here to view’s severe weather guide.

Irene actually weakened a bit overnight, dropping to a Category 2 storm. That means it is packing winds of up to 110 mph. It is still barreling toward North Carolina. It is possible that it will gather strength again.

By the time Irene hits New York, it is expected to bring at least Tropical Storm-force winds of at least 75-90 mph and up to 7-10 inches of rain.

“What we have here is a storm with projected winds that would exceed the level at which the MTA can safely operate services,” Walder said.

Despite all the concern about the storm, the Great White Way seems to be saying “The show must go on.” So far, there have been no cancellations as yet of shows set for this weekend, according to the Broadway League and Off-Broadway League. The two are trade associations. The weekend is the busiest time for Broadway shows.

WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell With Boat Owners On Manhattan’s Southern Tip

Boat owners and captains were literally battening down their hatches and securing their vessels at the North Cove Marina in Lower Manhattan.

“I’m concerned about hitting other things, other boats, the dock, and boats can get damaged pretty easily,” said Zach Fluhr, who was trying to secure Ajax, his 34-foot-long sailboat.

Fluhr says he’ll do the best that he can and then he’ll just cross his fingers.

Boats at the North Cove Marina - New York, NY - Aug 26, 2011 (credit: Peter Haskell / WCBS 880)

Boats at the North Cove Marina - New York, NY - Aug 26, 2011 (credit: Peter Haskell / WCBS 880)

For specific recommendations on what you can do to prepare for Hurricane Irene, click here.

Are you concerned about Hurricane Irene? Sound off in our comments section.

Comments (57)
  1. DR. MENGLE,GOT TWINS? says:

    irene.another manufactured storm..another katrina..another you know see why they chem trial the sky’s

  2. Emilio says:

    Its too risky to go near the beach to wacth the storm ffrom the car? Aby one can advice? Thanks

    1. Bob Fowler says:

      Emilio, don’t listen to what they say. You go to the beach to watch. As a matter of fact, why not pack a picnic lunch?

      My saber tooth tiger is licking his lips waiting for Emilio, as the herd obviously needs a bit more trimming.

  3. Call says:

    Stay home people. The predicated 10 inches of rain is now down to 2 inches (we had 5 inches of rain in a 24-hour period last week) and the winds will be only topping 60 MPH – still strong, but not a single reason to evacuate your homes. What is wrong with the panic mentality of people these days? If an actual hurricane was hitting the area I might consider leaving, but this is a big rainstorm, like any other we get several times per year. This might go down as the biggest over reaction in history. I also predict the store shelves will be empty for several days following this event – not because there’s a shortage of food – just because (call me paranoid). So, thanks for creating an environment to foster a fake food shortage Mr. Mayor.

    1. Furniture Bob says:

      My friend this is a dry run, a test if you may, for the suspension of civil rights. As in you are ordered to evacuate your homes. And by the way, N.Y.U. medical center on First Avenue and 30th street was evacuated on Friday at 4 PM HUH. Whats happening here? This is a medical institution with patients! Whoops here comes Home Land Security again. Never let a crises go by without taking advantage! Welcome to the new order of the day

  4. david says:

    hi lincoln tunnel is closed or will be close

  5. bronxnative says:

    Bloomberg forgets the outer boroughs. Everything is about Manhattan because that’s where his big bucks are. Mayor Bloomberg forgets the outer boroughs…there’s a place up north called: The Bronx. It has an “A” flood zone. Parts of Throgs Neck will be under water by Sunday. People live here too. Yea, it’s called: THE BRONX!


    I laugh at the idiots who stocked up on food and water as if this rain storm will last for weeks.

  7. All of Broadway is shutting down Saturday and Sunday.

  8. Bradley Dorrance says:

    I’ll never forget a major snowstorm in Phila. in 1996. Five days after the storm, 900 miles of unplowed streets in the city.

    1. Bob Fowler says:

      How many rich people live in Phiily? How many minorities? Are you ever going to learn the value of human life, and conveniences? If they plowed the streets, the bad people would be able to get out again.

  9. alison says:

    This lists shelters in Man. Anyone care about the other boroughs?

    1. RichieT says:

      These are the address for all of the NYC. evacuation shelters

  10. JasonS says:

    What is it with CBS, they are clinically obsessed with the weather. Every time there’s some adverse weather, they suspend all regular news reporting and devote their whole freaking website to it. I know this is a big news event, but every other news outlet seems to have gotten the balance right – there IS other news going on. But no, CBS is just weather story after weather story. It’s the same all winter too.

    1. Bob Fowler says:

      If they don’t keep updating you on the weather, how will you ever stay scared enough?

    2. Bob Fowler says:

      how else can they keep scaring you?

  11. Common-Sense Kidd says:

    The Mayor’s just covering his stupid a$$ after the snow debacle of last winter. This will be no more than a trop storm. Even worse projections say Cat 1 and the City’s own Hurricane Preparedness Pamphlets say Cat1 – “Minimal” damage. He’ll be sorry cuz no one will believe the authorities when we have a genuine catastrophic storm…numb nut.

    1. RichieT says:

      If turns out to be a minor storm after all of this you’ll be bit#**ng. It it turns out to major storm and they didn’t, you’d be bit##*ng. Take you pick.

  12. Joke of the Week says:

    What did the hurricane say to the earthquake? Answer: It wasn’t my fault.



  14. DonnaM says:

    This message is coming from a very, very concerned native Texas Gulf Coast resident —get out now!!! Just go back and search information and images of our hurricanes from the recent past — death and destruction. And that is in an area that is “prepared” for hurricanes. Getting out on Saturday is just too late!! We evacuated our parents out of Galveston County 2 full days prior to landfall, and what normally is a 50 minute car ride turned into a 8 hour nightmare. We are praying for you and hoping for minimal damage and deaths.

    1. Michael H. says:

      Thanks for your concern but Ike packed the storm surge equivalent of a Cat 5 even though it was only a Cat 2. We’re not expecting anywhere near that level of sea level change, 7-10 feet at most. Those in the low lying areas are wise to leave but those of us outside Zone A don’t have a whole lot to worry about in terms of flooding from storm surge.

      Thank you for your thoughts and prayers though.

  15. Baba Looey says:

    Mister Emergency, we should call the bum.

  16. SL says:

    More important…I can’t believe Derek Jeter and his girlfriend split up. How’s tht for a sense of humor!

  17. Irene says:

    here i am…rock you like a hurricane

  18. TERRI says:


  19. goblin says:

    I wonder if the traffic nazis will be out writing tickets for expired meters?

    1. Michael H. says:

      I’m assuming you didn’t read the article. Meter rules are suspended through the storm and into Monday.

  20. Jaf says:

    Sorry Mr. Mayor, but there’s no such thing as a “mandatory” evacuation, the mayor has no authority to force people to leave their homes, and the cops can’t do squat about it.

    1. fumayor says:

      this prick is givin the go ahead to all the criminals to get ready to start rubbing the empty homes!!!

      1. Jaf says:

        Yeah, sure, I’m giving the go ahead, you imbecile, I’m simply saying that you should stay in your home if you want to

      2. Michael H. says:

        Looting in the middle of a hurricane. I wont help clean up the bodies…

    2. Reverend Rev says:

      It sounds like payday to me!! Even though the City CANNOT legally force people to leave, anybody who stays and gets hurt CAN sue the City – and win – for not forcing them to leave. It’s unfair that only people in low-lying areas get such a lucrative opportunity.

  21. Ellen says:

    I am praying for New York and the rest of us that this Hurricane will not be that bad, but in the meantime please people don’t overreact and stay peaceful and calm. God is with us.

    1. Mel Ahka says:

      I’d rather have an umbrella.

      1. Michael H. says:

        Yeah, with god being transparent and all. A poncho is even better. Hurricane force winds can easily destroy an umbrella.

  22. John says:

    The mayor is doing this to save face, he botched the winter time blizzards didnt he? Get ready for alot of wind n rain, period.

    1. the reasonabe guy says:

      And municipal overtime. Yup

  23. G says:

    I don’t understand this huge state of panic. New Yorkers live in brick buildings, with no trees to fall on them and where the power has never gone out during a hurricane before. I don’t get it.

    1. Schmellma Arss says:

      You don’t have to get it, just be a good American and do what the mayor and the media tell you to do: BE AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAID. AND SCARE THE POOH OUT OF YOUR KIDS AS WELL. THEN BE SURE TO VOTE.

      1. TomNJ says:

        Well said.

    2. Michael H. says:

      I don’t know where you live but here in Brooklyn we’ve got trees up and down the block, some of which are taller than the surrounding houses.

      I’m willing to bet money that some areas will lose power for at least a few hours.

      1. Bob Fowler says:

        Lose power!?!?!? Oh the humanity!!!! You mean that the tv won’t work? No internet? How the hell are we supposed to survive? AAAARRRRRHHHHHHH!!!!!

        How many millions must die for this storm? I’m going to save myself the suffering and just end it all right now.

      2. Michael H. says:

        I’m sorry did it seem like I was panicking? Losing power for a few hours is a minor inconvenience. I’m just trying to be a realist here. No, NYC will not turn into NOLA after Katrina, but at the same time this isn’t just another little thunderstorm. Be prepared. Have flashlights and the ability to charge your cell phone in your car if need be.
        And stop being a complete arse, Bob.

  24. Schmellma Arss says:

    Why does it take so long to stop the subways? They seem to have no problem stopping when I come home from work everyday! LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WE ARE DELAYED BECAUSE OF TRAIN TRAFFIC (a.k.a. stupidity and ignorance) AHEAD OF US. PLEASE BE PATIENT.

    1. The Reasonable Guy says:

      Union work rules

  25. val says:

    I’m happy to see that everyone still has their sense of humor! 🙂 I think we’ll be just fine through this. We’re tough New Yorkers!

  26. Bill for NY says:

    UM , new york can’t handle a major snowstorm, where have you been….

  27. All Hazards says:

    There’s an aggregate page on with web resources for Irene including social media, maps, and twitter tools at

  28. Loopy says:

    If New York can handle a major snowstorm then it can certainly handle a small hurricane….

    1. Bob Fowler says:

      If by handle a small hurricane you mean act in a responsible, adult manner, showing respect and concern for our neighbors, and not being a hording mob of looters…you might be right.

      If on the other hand, you are suggesting that this will be anything but Mayor Bloomberg’s fault, brought on by Obama’s failed healthcare reform, which was caused by the bi-partisan bickering over the debt ceiling, because the Democrats are destroying us, OR the Republicans are selling us out (pick whichever you prefer)…then I fear that you are sadly mistaken. On the bright side though, Irene will single-handedly restore the national economy through the sales of water, batteries and duct tape.

      1. Uly says:

        …who needs batteries…there’s never anything on, anyway?

    2. propmgr says:

      New York Couldn’t hadle a major snow storm, and Irene is not a small hurricane, she is 800 miles across!

    3. j.j. says:

      Handle a major snowstorm! Are you kidding me? All New Yorkers did was whine because their streets weren’t cleared by 6 AM. What a joke.

      1. Michael H. says:

        6AM? It took 3 DAYS, more in some places, to get the streets plowed. Go blow it out your back end.

    4. david says:

      hi lincoln tunnel is closed or wiil be close at noon

Leave a Reply to Schmellma Arss Cancel reply